Especially in Hollywood, pregnancies of women over 45 years are not unusual. It is highly probable that these pregnancies were achieved with the help of egg donation! We would like to explain what part the age of a woman really plays when it comes to achieving pregnancy.
Nature isn’t fair in terms of reproduction – because age certainly plays a very important role if a couple wants to have children.
The sperm production of men changes insignificantly during the course of life. Every 3 months, the sperm cells within the testicles start a new production cycle. This means that men with good sperm quality are fertile over a long period of time. Solely an increase in genetically defect sperm cells can occur as men get older.
Unfortunately this is not the case with the egg cells. A girl already possesses all her egg cells when she is born. This ovarian reserve is her “life supply”, which also means that the number of egg cells decreases during the course of life. In every menstrual cycle a cohort of egg cells “joins the race” and only one of them matures – this is the ovulation.
Important: The constant reduction of egg cells happens regardless of a regular or irregular cycle. Also women taking the pill or pregnant women constantly lose egg cells from cycle to cycle.
Do my egg cells age or do they become genetically defect?
Apart from the monthly loss of egg cells there is also an ageing process. Due to the fact that all egg cells are already produced at birth this also means that they are always as old as the woman herself.
It is considered that at the age of 35, already half of all egg cells are genetically defect. From the age of 40, two thirds will be genetically defect.
A lot of women are not aware that the reduction of their fertility starts fairly early at an age of about 32 years. Certainly not in a dramatic way, but between the ages of 32 and 38 a significant decrease can be observed.
Due to these genetic defects less of the egg cells “joining the race” are viable which means that the time until pregnancy is extended.
In summary, this means that the chances of becoming pregnant are already impaired from the age of 38 and that after the age of 42 the chances are massively reduced.
Important: A woman’s age is certainly an important aspect, but still remains only one factor of many. Some women are highly fertile at the age of 41, whereas sometimes 30 year old women can suffer from premature menopause.
More on this topic and how to determine your personal ovarian reserve can be read here!